Friday, April 22, 2011

Landmark Worker Liberty Setbacks from the NRLB and MO GOP

The Wall Street Journal reported that organized labor has a brazen new tactic to accomplish forced unionization. Meanwhile, the St. Louis Beacon reports that there is another new tactic to force unionization in Missouri. These power plays by big labor and Democrat politicians against workers and taxpayers are without precedent.

The Boeing Corporation found union demands so intolerable that they decided to build their newest plant in right to work, South Carolina. They simply followed the logical and well worn path of major manufacturers leading from forced union states to right to work states. Because organized labor devotes 90% of their political action funds to Democrats, it is no surprise that the Obama administration controlled National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) would do the bidding of big labor and launch air strikes against the freedom road out of forced labor land.

What is perhaps much more striking is what is happening in Missouri where Republican enjoy huge majorities in both Chambers. Not surprisingly, Senate leaders opened the Session with the bold announcement that they would make worker liberty a top priority. While that right to work law languishes, negotiators on a St. Louis police "local control" law announced that they have a deal between the City and the police union. The Republican Legislature will give the City local control over the police force, and give the union their dream of forcing the City into adopting a collective bargaining deal with the union. It seems, "local control" is a mere slogan to be applied selectively by whoever has the power. So the rank and file cops will be forced to join the union and taxpayers will certainly learn what other cities know about how hard it is to remove that bad unionized officers.

This is all the more stunning in light of the reality that despite the St. Louis City reputation as a solid Democrat and union stronghold, the City has managed to stave off forced collective bargaining. Also this week, right to work Oklahoma lawmakers moved to further restrict public employee collective bargaining agreement. Nevertheless, it is a Republican Legislature that is poised to be the first lawmaking body in the country to force a local government into a collective bargaining agreement. Evidently, lawmakers in the Show Me State got the wrong message from Wisconsin.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

UPDATE - Critical Election and Stealth Candidates April 5th.

Like any election cycle, there were disappointments and bright spots. I have some specific thoughts moving forward.

We knew that Assessor Candidate Chip Wood faced a huge uphill battle starting with his running in solidly Democrat leaning St. Louis County and his starting the race against a man who already had over $200,000 in the bank. But still we fought. We fought because we want someone who will be professional, resist temptation to grow government, and because we like Chip. I hope he stays involved.

In Rockwood, like Chip Wood, we knew we were challenging an entrenched teacher union network. They have great lists of current and former teachers and administrators, and their message is simple and effective and wrong. At the polls all day, the teachers tell the voters, "support your teachers" as they hand them their picks. Well who opposes teachers? Mike Geller took the bold step of running and the even bolder step of running for the taxpayers and kids. His message was "vote for taxpayers and students". The truth is, we build schools and fund them, not for teachers, but for kids. We need to support our teachers as far as support for them does not harm kids. In the end, we need to vote for kids. Evidently, we fail to sink that message with the highly educated West County voters every cycle, and the degree to which we do sink it, we fail to succeed in turning out those voters. And with 17% voter turnout, the unions have their way more cycles than not.

In Monarch Fire District, we had one of the oddest splits of my political life. We have had three cycles in a row in which the taxpayers have aligned behind Fire Director Rick Gans and the union has had their candidate. The battle lines were clear.

This time, it appears the unions retained several Republican consultants who smeared our guy Gans as they touted Swyers as the "non-union" guy to "clean up the mess". The only mess most of us cared about was keeping a check on the union, which Gans was doing, so there was natural distrust of a candidate no one heard of, who was the father of a union firefighter.

I met Swyers at the polls, too. He seems like a decent man who is angry about mudslinging in his first campaign. I told him I was angry that he was obfuscating his funding. We set up electronic campaign financing to add convenience for candidates and transparency for voters. What was I to expect from a Certified PUBLIC Accountant who was taking the extra step of paper filing his financial dislosures and avoiding public transparency? The "P" in CPA means that ones duty is to the public first, even over the interest of any employer. Swyers knows this. There were at least eight or nine mailers from the Swyers camp, a tremendous amount of money spent on radio and a phone calling campaign and at least one paid staffer in Rush James.

Well, after running an aggressive, very expensive campaign with only $10,000 of reported spending, and swearing he was not union-supported, taxpayers are left wondering who really backed and funded the Swyers campaign, and will Swyers really stand for taxpayers or the union? Will Swyers follow through and cut the firefighter pay to say, the level of the police pay? Time will tell.

We did have several bright spots. My other four candidates won. Derek Grier will be a great new voice at Chesterfield City Hall. He will join Bob Nation who easily won re-election. In Ballwin, Mark Harder defeated long-time incumbent Pat McDermott. This was a tremendous feat as Pat is a popular local figure known for years of dedication to the community including the operation of the Ballwin Days Fair. Mark just outworked him. He will be great for Ballwin. Down in Jefferson County, my friend Dan Shaul won a seat on the Windsor school district board of education. He will do a great job looking out for kids.

When I sum this up, I end up back in the same place I always do; Civic Education. I spoke to an elementary school just last week as a "former Senator" because this is a hallmark of what I see as the real solution. The message is simple, this is your government-own it.

Politicians can only do so much. We eliminated the June (school) election date because limited ballots favor special interests. We merged school elections with the April (municipal) elections in hopes that broader interest would improve accountability. Still only 17% of people bothered voting. In America, we should not have to put all issues on in August and November in order to get people to care, but maybe that is what it will take. If 300 more "taxpayers" had shown up, Geller would have one.

We need to demand accountability and transparency from candidates. It still disturbs me that the Swyers campaign was so secretive. Union firefighters were staffing the polls for him while Lieutenant Governor Kinder recorded robo calls for him. Is he the union candidate or the GOP accountability candidate? We have no idea who paid for any of it, because he filed his reports on paper. In an ideal world, voters would have the mental foundation to find that as objectionable as I do and vote accordingly.

Who is going to take up the cause of cajoling "general interest" or "taxpayer candidates" into voting in April? Who will take up the cause of educating voters that the school board candidate who "supports the teachers" first, probably supports the taxpayers last? Why do we put firefighters over taxpayers? Is $126,000 in compensation and benefits not enough? Who will watch Monarch Fire District or any of the other Districts and begin the process of educating people about the insidious nature of public unions? Maybe you.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Critical Election and Stealth Candidates April 5th.

This election has two of the most critical opportunities I have seen in a long time; we must hold Monarch Fire District and Pick up a champion in Rockwood. I am getting a number of inquiries about what is on the ballot tomorrow. Here are my favorites below, but check out Gina's picks in her TV ad here:

This is not an exhaustive list, but I am also posting this on the Taxpayer Watchdog Blog, so if you have a favorite candidate, put them up there and direct your friends to the list.

Monarch Fire: Rick Gans - despite a massively deceptive smear campaign orchestrated by three paid republican consultants who secured the endorsements of Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder and a few other notable people who do not even live here, ALL of the local republican lawmakers who have fought the fire fighter union attempts to hijack the coffers, including current State Senator Jane Cunningham, myself, former Senators Klarich and Flotron, ALL BACK GANS and urge you to tell all of your friends to reject the UNION-FUNDED SWYERS who never even voted in a Fire District election and is the father of a union fire fighter. Who is more to be trusted to look out for Taxpayers? Currently, taxpayers hold the board versus unions 2:1. A vote for Gans holds the union in check.

Rockwood School Board: Mike Geller - Vote for MIKE ONLY (even though you get to vote for three - more below) Mike is a good friend who helped me back in my first race in 1994. He is concerned enough that he is making his own foray into running a race because no other conservative would. MIKE IS RUNNING FOR YOUR SAKE.

Mike has made the incredibly bold step of campaigning for taxpayers and students. Unlike every one of his opponents (Doelle is calling himself a conservative while being endorsed by several unions), Mike was too honest to say one thing to the unions and another to you.
Mike is all about high standards and choices for parents. Yes, he has three children in Rockwood, but one at Rossman, his alma mater.
The three top vote getters win. If 2000 union voters vote for their three, that is 600+ votes each. If 2000 taxpayers vote only for Mike, he wins easy. VOTE ONLY FOR GELLER.

County Assessor: Chip Wood - Chip is a great guy whom I have gotten to know recently. He is the professional real estate expert who the Republican Party put up against the Democrat's lawyer/politician. When it comes to your property assessments, would you rather trust a Democrat politician loyal to County Executive Dooley or Republican businessman Chip Wood?

Chesterfield City Council, Ward 2: Derek Grier - Derek is a gem. I do not know how else to describe him, but he is a great guy with all the right values who just wants to serve, and everyone who meets him wants to help him. This is his second run at the office and no one works harder. Please support Derek if you live in Ward 2.

Chesterfield City Council, Ward 4: Bob Nation - Bob is my Councilman. I have been impressed by his dedication to the job, especially when we asked hm for his support on a Wilson Rd. bike trail and I "caught him in the act" of walking the area on his own time in order to get a full perspective on our request.

Ballwin City Council, Ward 2: Mark Harder - I have known Mark for almost as long as I have known Mike. Even though this is a non-partisan office, Mark is a very dedicated Republican activist who will take sound GOP values to the Ballwin Board of Aldermen.

Windsor School District: Dan Shaul - I have known Dan for a number of years. He is great guy who stands for all the right things. If you are in Jefferson County but not in Windsor, consider helping Dan at the polls or calling your friends.

About 10 years ago, two candidates for a seat in North County got the identical number of votes, over 1500 each. How many people were self-flagellating in penance for not bothering to vote? Please take 5-10 minutes to hold the Fire District and put your best advocate in Rockwood.